Utah Canyonlands - Buckskin Gulch & Paria Canyon

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Utah Canyonlands - Buckskin Gulch & Paria Canyon

Postby paradza » Sat 13 Dec, 2014 11:17 am

http://paradzamusing.blogspot.com.au/20 ... anyon.html

Buckskin Gulch & Paria Canyon

So they say this is a 3 to 6 day adventure. All depending on conditions. Aka, the water levels. So being the responsible adventurer, called the Ranger while still back in aus. Said they'd had record rain. But levels coming down, not good. Equals; cold and slow. And more wet suit attire. And most importantly, at one point there's a rock jam 3/4 way down the slot. Low water you climbs under said jam. High means over the top. And rope to get down. Took string to lower back pack and scramble doyen myself. Ended up going under. Glad didn't take a rope.

High tailed it out of Vegas early morning. With all the faffing about, stopping off to get requisite permit and poop bags, instructions from Ranger etc. Only arrived at Vermillion cliffs motel, my overnighter, late. Not much else in Vermilion cliffs except the motel. But great food, fantastic burger and bigger range of beers than Vegas. Run by adventurers, so mustbe good.

Met Liegh, from Wagga Wagga, would you believe. More knowledgeable than anyone I'd met. 'The best canyon hike in the US, the world even'. .. Big call. She was not alone on this point. Suppose that's why after all the research chose this one.

Logistics are; leave car at the end of the trail; Lees ferry where Paria river meets the Colorado. This is where the rafters start for the Grand canyon river rafting. Reminded me of Vic falls. For me it was a 7am rendezvous and the 1:45 hr. shuttle with Betty, to the start. for a fee of course. I had to chuckle, she had lots of advice for this hike. Being seriously over weight and with walking stick. Doubt she'd ever done this.

Disposed of Betty and charged off with much gusto. Happiness abounded. With a 20k long Gulch (supposedly the longest in the world). there are no real camping spots in the Gulch and it could be suicide if it rained. This was much, much narrower than the Narrows. It was amazing how high up the rock walls wooded debris had lodged itself, at some points maybe 10 metres up. Even more amazing was the way the muddy waters had sculpted sides of the canyon walls, remarkable. First mistake, didn't bring a decent camera. The mobile just hadn't done it justice, both in terms of capturing the textured walls and the colours created by the sunlight stealing through the top of the canyon.

And to the first mud pool. So donned on Neoprene type socks and leggings. And ventured forth. As I didn't have those you beaut Canyon shoes like in the Narrows, had bought some sandals as s poor substitute. Theory bring they would at least detain and be light to walk in. First test passed. Just wet muddy for the rest of the day.

This was fun. Like racing through a maze for big kids. Just went on and on. Deeper n higher walls. More water pools, just not as bad as everyone had made out. So cussed them. That meant an extra 2kg on my back for three days.
In fact, pack weighted 15.6kg, that was with 3.5 liters and 800 g of vino (considered essential). With 4 days of food. Not to bad.

The rock jam proved to be a non event. All a bit disappointing really. It did mean good progress was made.
Finally arriving at the confluence at about 3. All up 26k.
Things changed now. With the Paria flowing it was more like the Narrows. Constant river walking. The sandals didn't perform well at this. Getting *&%$#! pebbles under your feet. Not that I was changing. That would have meant no dry shoes in camp. Now that would be very problematic.
Pressed on hoping to get to 'big spring' where there was a camp site opposite the fresh water source. Didn't make it. By 5 and light fading. Came across a pretty decent looking spot. Little high up. It off the wind. And checked what was on the menu. Spaghetti pesto it was. Not before sundowners. And tucked into that wine. Well earned I thought. So much so smashed the lot. Less weight for tomorrow.

As with the ZION Narrows didn't bother with the tarp. Once again took forever to decamp.

The second day, the canyon started to open up. Criss-crossed it constantly. Towering canyon walls. Was brilliant. By this stage was crossing that river with gazelle like grace. Well I thought so.

Rather than talking to myself or out shooting waiting for the echo and other dump things, took to looking for features in the rock. A Buddha, saw Dory of Nemo fame, much hilarity.

Took a side trip up Wrather canyon up to Wrather Arch. nearly missed the canyon entrance. Hidden in shrubbery. More natural wonders and box ticked.

And by dusk found accommodation. Just as tucking in, started to rain. So up goes the tarp. Just in time.

Executed decamping much better and was on the veritable Road by 7am. Wanting to get to Lees ferry by midday.
The canyon opens up wide, so longer river side walking less in the water.
Good progress was made and arrived at lees ferry by lunch. Which was good. I see the predicted cold front coming in. Headed back to Vermillion cliffs for another great burger.
This was an outstanding little adventure.

Atherosperma moschatum
Atherosperma moschatum
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